Sinise to join Cage in Par’s ‘Snake Eyes’

After months of casting speculation and changes, “Snake Eyes” finally will roll with Gary Sinise set to star opposite Nicolas Cage in the Brian DePalma-directed thriller for Paramount.

Although Par execs couldn’t be reached for comment, sources close to the deal confirm that Sinise has been cast in the David Koepp-scripted pic.

In the film, Sinise will portray Kevin Dunne, a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the U.S. secretary of defense at a heavyweight prize fight in Atlantic City. During the fight the defense topper is assassinated and Cage’s character — Dunne’s boyhood friend and a detective — must deal with a looming hurricane and 15,000 suspects as he tries to unravel the conspiracy before the killers get away.

Sinise was last seen on the big screen as the corrupt cop who terrorizes Mel Gibson in “Ransom.” Since then, the Chicago-reared, theater-trained actor-director has filmed “Wallace” — in which he plays controversial Alabama politico George Wallace — for cable’s TNT and director John Frankenheimer. He also has starred in a run of “Streetcar Named Desire” at the Steppenwolf Theatre, which he co-founded in 1974.

Sinise, who didn’t make his feature acting debut until 1992, has compiled a resume that includes roles in “Forrest Gump” (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), “Apollo 13,” “The Quick and the Dead” and “Of Mice and Men.”

He won both a SAG award and a CableACE award for his portrayal of Harry S. Truman in the HBO telefilm “Truman.”

Despite a series of setbacks indicative of its title — Will Smith at one time was attached to co-star then dropped out; and Par and Warner Bros. had to resolve scheduling issues concerning Cage’s availability for “Snake Eyes” and Warner Bros.’ “Superman Reborn” — “Snake Eyes” now is set to go before the cameras Aug. 4.

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